Thursday, December 31, 2015

NFL Picks, Week 17

This week's NFL TV maps: 506sports

The majority of the country (in terms of map coverage, not necessarily number of households) will see 
New York Jets at Buffalo (CBS, 1 PM)
Washington at Dallas (FOX, 1 PM)
San Diego at Denver (CBS, 4:25 PM)
Seattle at Arizona (FOX, 4:25 PM)

The entire country will see 
Minnesota at Green Bay (NBC, 8:30)

Note, all times above are Eastern.

It's funny, when I first started picking NFL games, Thursday night games were the bane of my existence. I believe I started the 2013 season missing on the first 7 or 8 weeks of Thursday night games. Now, Thursday night games are where I do my best picking. It's the other end of NFL weekends that's dragging me down, Monday Nights. 

More importantly, I have a chance to finish above .500 in my picks for the second year in a row (and second time ever). It all comes down to week 17, as I am exactly at .500 going into this weekend. 

As always, home teams in CAPS.

New York Jets (-3) over BUFFALO
I firmly believe Rex Ryan would love nothing more than to win this game and knock the Jets out of the playoffs (as long as the Steelers cooperate). I just don't believe that Rex's players attach anything approaching similar importance to doing so. 
MIAMI (+10.5) over New England
I don't really believe the Patriots are good enough offensively right now to run away from pretty much anybody. My hesitation in picking the Dolphins is entirely based on the fact that I'm not sure they didn't quit a couple of weeks ago. 
ATLANTA (-4) over New Orleans
I'm going to pick the team that doesn't have the historically bad defense in this one. Heck, Atlanta would still be alive for a playoff spot right now if they hadn't turned the ball over about 26 times the last time these two teams played. 
HOUSTON (-6) over Jacksonville
The Texans have won their last two games behind Brandon Weeden. This week they get Brian Hoyer back. They're not losing this game with the playoffs in sight. 
Pittsburgh (-10) over CLEVELAND
Likely too little too late, but the Steelers will come out angry and firing for this one after dropping their second game of the season to the 5-win Ravens last weekend. 
Indianapolis (-6) over TENNESSEE
Can I really back the Colts when they're down to Josh Freeman, Stephen Morris, and Ryan Lindley at the quarterback position? When their opponent is the 3-12 Titans without Marcus Mariota, yes I can. 
Washington (+3.5) over DALLAS
The Redskins are firmly locked into the 4 seed, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them rest quite a few players for this game. The Cowboys are starting Kellen Moore at quarterback. Advantage: Washington. 
Detroit (+1) over CHICAGO
One of these teams is 5-2 in their last 7 games, and one of those losses was on an honest-to-goodness Hail Mary pass as time expired. The other one is favored in this game. 
NEW YORK GIANTS (-3) over Philadelphia
Both of these teams are playing out the string. One of them just fired their czar coach and personnel manager. I'll take the other one. 
CINCINNATI (-9) over Baltimore
Don't be fooled by last week's win over the Steelers, the Ravens still aren't good and Ryan Mallet isn't beating a quality defense when that defense still has something to play for. 
CAROLINA (-10.5) over Tampa Bay
With the undefeated season pressure off the table, the Panthers should go out and take care of business to wrap up home field advantage this weekend. 
KANSAS CITY (-6.5) over Oakland
The Chiefs still have a shot at the division title. Granted they need the Broncos to lose to the Chargers, so it's an unlikely shot, but they're also riding a 9-game winning streak. I don't see the Raiders ending it. 
SAN FRANCISCO (+3.5) over St. Louis
I don't know what voodoo magic Jeff Fisher is able to conjure up when his team faces the Seahawks. I just know that a) he can't seem to apply it consistently to any other team, and b) his team tends to come out flat the week after a big win over a divisional foe. 
DENVER (-9) over San Diego
This Broncos defense should devour the injury-riddled Charger offense. Oh, and the Chargers fined and deactivated their best defensive player (Eric Weddle) for watching his daughter perform at halftime of last week's game. That doesn't set up a team to rally to defeat the top team in their division with nothing else to play for. 
Seattle (+6.5) over ARIZONA
Even when Seattle loses they tend to keep things close, and they played well against the Cardinals a few weeks ago when they weren't shooting themselves in the foot with stupid penalties. That being said, the Cardinals are a legitimately scary prospect for every other NFC playoff team. They look like the strongest team on that half of the bracket regardless of whether or not the Panthers hold on to the #1 seed. 
GREEN BAY (-3) over Minnesota
I know how poor the Packers have looked offensively for most of the last 2-3 months, I'm just not ready to buy the Vikings as a legit threat to good teams yet. 

Happy New Year to all, may your 2016s be filled with blessings. 

Last week: 7-9 (.438)
Season: 117-117-6 (.500)

2015 Weekday Games: 10-7-1 (.583)
2015 Monday Night Games: 4-12-1 (.265)

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